This entry is part 16 of 18 in the series Race Club Diaries

Yeah…me again. So if you’re tired reading my diary entries you should stop right away. Because I started this entry a long time ago and never really came to an end and so it got a bit long. Ever since I started to write after my last visit in February, I started to feed this entry with all the stuff (interesting or not) that came to my mind. Yes, I assume, I sort of “abuse” the platform I’m given, but maybe you like it? And if not, STOP reading further.

Ok, let me start with a quote I found by chance and couldn’t stop thinking about for a long time. The truth of it lies as much in the words as in the metaphor that it produced for me.

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
Vidal Sassoon, hairstylist

Only one thing really surprised me about this quote. How could a hairstylist make such a statement? You obviously have to cut and style a lot of people’s hair (or maybe just the one of THE person) to become a well-known and successful hairstylist.

Anyway, back to something that at least relates to The Race Club. In my last entry I wrote about the green flash and how I made it a reason to come back to Islamorada. But honestly, who cares about the green flash – right!?

So this time I want to give you a real reason to come to Islamorada and train with The Race Club. This is what I call the “Andy-Factor”. It’s really hard to bring the “Andy-Factor” to words. This is something you have to experience by yourself (those who already joined a Race Club Camp probably know exactly what I’m talking about).

As you might know (or not), Andy is part of the coaching staff. He mainly keeps you busy at Froggys Gym, but he’s a great mental and swim coach as well.

Believe me, there’s nothing that will keep you going as hard as you can as an “Andy on fire”. By the time you’ll find yourself on the block for another 100 (with already 4 done) on time and an Andy on fire is the time when you start to believe everything that he’ll be screaming at you either from behind or the side of the pool. This is the moment where you get the goose bump and get into the zone. From then on the only thing you see (hear) is a hopping and screaming Andy for yet another 100.

And together with a little technical advice from Jon you start to push the limits every time you’re going to step on the block a bit further.

This is something I really miss when I’m back at home. Once more, it is really hard to explain and maybe it won’t be the same experience for you. But if you didn’t experience the “Andy-Factor” by yourself, you won’t know it. So take your chance and sign up for a Race Club Camp.

At this time you may start to wonder why I titled this entry with “Brotherhood” Well, this is up next.

My last stay in Islamorada was (long ago) in February and way to short (only a week). But when it comes down to a trip to train with The Race Club – a short trip is better than no trip! It was also a special trip for me because I had my little, I probably should say my younger, brother joining me.

So why is this so special? Well, my brother got into swimming because of one of my races at Junior Nationals. He was on the stands with my parents and decided after my swim that this was what he wanted, too. First, all of us (my parents and I) were a bit laughing at his decision. Although he did do some other sport activity, he never was dedicated enough to bring it to more than just a fun level (don’t get me wrong on that one – performing on a high level still should be fun). But he proved us wrong – and finally found himself on the medal stand at Junior Nationals. By the way, he didn’t only follow my path in swimming but chose also the same college as I attended before him. This is probably not too uncommon but it makes me somehow proud.

Back to our trip. As most of the time when you travel from Switzerland to the Florida Keys, it is to get some warm weather (training in our case). We both came off Team Nationals and wanted to have a “transition” week of some lighter workloads to get into the next cycle for Long Course Nationals.

Don’t think that we were just hanging around in the Keys and do some training aside because I talked of lighter workload. We just cut off some of the core and lifting sessions that we usually do. And of course I had to give a Florida Crash Course to my brother on the weekend – driving down all the US1 to T-Shirt City (Key West) and then all the way up to Miami and South Beach.

Brick Kick

Beside all the impression my brother took from our trip, what was most impressive to both of us – we learned how to kick. Sounds stupid but I also thought that I knew how to kick until one afternoon Gary joined us for a little brick kick. This “drill” teaches you how to kick efficient and how hard it actually is to maintain a good body position. You don’t believe me – then take a brick to the pool and do it yourself.

For those who want to try it, some instruction on how to do it. Take a brick and a deep breath and go. Hold the brick to your chest and try to stay on the surface just as you would when you kick without board and your hands to your side. Kick as long as you can without taking a breath or until you touch the ground of the pool (believe this might happen sooner than you imagine!). And most important – don’t let you discourage if you sink like a brick in the beginning. It took some time until we made only half the distance Gary did and we actually got to kick on the surface.

Wow, two months later and I’m done. But that’s the great thing about The Race Club – I remember all of it as it was yesterday.

Keep on kicking!